TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With two days until the start of the 2019 season, the Florida State soccer team earned a plethora of honors from TopDrawerSoccer. The Noles had four recognized in their Top 100 players and five recognized on their Preseason Best XI Teams.
Sophomore Yujie Zhao was the first Seminole to appear on the list of this season’s Top 100 players, coming in at No. 8. Senior Deyna Castellanos comes in at No. 12, redshirt junior Malia Berkely followed her up at No. 14 and sophomore Jaelin Howell capped off the Seminoles in the Top 100, ranked No. 30.
The Garnet and Gold lead the country with five players on the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI teams as announced on Tuesday. The Seminoles have one first-teamer, Yujie Zhao, two second-teamers, Deyna Castellanos and Malia Berkely and a third-teamer, Jaelin Howell. Freshman Jenna Nighswonger was placed on the Preseason Freshman Best XI team.
Zhao heads into 2019 coming off an impressive freshman campaign. She was named TopDrawerSoccer Freshman of the Year and was a United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American. Zhao was second on the team in points as a freshman, scoring seven goals and assisting on five others.
Castellanos is making her third consecutive appearance on a Preseason Best XI team. She was named to the Best XI third team to end last season. Castellanos comes back to FSU for her senior season as she is third in the country in career goal for active players with 36. She led Florida State in goals in her first three season at Florida State and led the team in total point the last two seasons.
Berkely was an instrumental part of the Florida State run a season ago. She led the team in minutes played and helped direct the Seminole defense to 16 shutouts during the 2018 season. She scored one goal last season and that came in the College Cup Semifinal against Stanford. Berkely was second on the team with seven assists and was a member of the 2018 College Cup All-Tournament Team.
Howell made a major impact as a freshman. She was third on the team in minutes played, while scoring one goal and assisting on four others. Howell was named the College Cup Most Outstanding Player on Defense for helping the Seminoles earn back-to-back shutouts en route to their second National Title.
Nighswonger comes to Tallahassee as a highly touted recruit out of Huntington Beach, Calif. She has been a member of the U.S. U14-23 teams.
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2018 TopDrawerSoccer Preseason Best XI Teams
F: Catarina Macario (Stanford(w)), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA(w)), Evelyne Viens (South Florida)
M: Jessie Fleming (UCLA(w)), Katie Cousins (Tennessee(w)), Yujie Zhao (Florida State(w)), Kelcie Hedge (Santa Clara(w))
D: Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State(w)), Emily Fox (North Carolina(w)), Phoebe McClernon (Virginia(w))
GK: Kaylie Collins (USC(w))
F: Ally Watt (Texas A&M(w)), Cyera Hintzen (Texas), Deyna Castellanos (Florida State(w))
M: Sam Coffey (Penn State(w)), Ella Stevens (Duke(w)), Emina Ekic (Louisville), Taylor Kornieck (Colorado)
D: Meaghan Nally (Georgetown), Grace Fisk (South Carolina) Malia Berkely (Florida State(w))
GK: Rylee Foster (West Virginia)
F: Raimee Sherle (Boise State), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara(w)), Tziarra King (NC State)
M: Paula Germino-Watnick (Georgetown), Brianne Folds (Auburn), Jaelin Howell (Florida State(w)), Andrea Hauksdottir (South Florida)
D: Karina Rodriguez (UCLA(w)), Alli Klug (Saint Louis), Maya Neal (Tennessee(w))
GK: Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech)
Freshman Best XI
F: Brittany Raphino (Brown), Diana Ordonez (Virginia(w)), Angela Caloia (Harvard)
M: Sophie Jones (Duke(w)), Maya Doms (Stanford(w)), Jenna Nighswonger (Florida State(w)), Isabella Cook (Tennessee(w))
D: Kate Wiesner (Penn State(w)), Reyna Reyes (Alabama), Lucy Roberts (South Florida)
GK: Angelina Anderson (California(w))